Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Malcolm Gladwell, Authenticity & The Trump Era

In our profession, those who can foretell market trends will always embody a competitive edge.
In the last 15 years, we've built TMRE: The Market Research Event into the Market Research & Insights industry's number one opportunity to learn from and network with the brightest, boldest thought leaders in our industry.

This October, we're thrilled to present the most well-curated TMRE ever - with tons of all-new, trend-worthy topics, speakers and sessions that smash the mold!

Here's what we'll be buzzing about at TMRE 2017:

·         Superstar author Malcolm Gladwell reveals how embracing technology has helped him forge new connections with his audience - and what those lessons can teach our evolving industry.
·         The new U.S. administration has created unforeseen realities and risks for brands, with "authenticity" emerging as a buzzword of the year. Peter Horst, former Chief Marketing Officer, The Hershey Company. helps leaders navigate this changing environment in Marketing in the Trump Age.
·         Introducing the Breakthrough Technology Start-Up Showcase, a chance to meet the biggest and most disruptive industry start-ups, while networking with the leaders who'll shape our industry for years to come.
·         Brand-new for TMRE 2017, we've partnered with Women in Research (WiRE) to present the Women in Research Awards, honoring outstanding female industry leaders, movers and shakers. 

Request the TMRE 2017 Brochure: https://goo.gl/HkCp3u

And that's not all!

·         All New! Future-proof yourself at TMRE 2017's Industry Specific Days
·         All New! Discover what today's C-Suite really wants to hear at the Chief Marketing Officer Forum
·         1,100+ international executives & thought leaders
·         150+ speakers & 120+ content-driven sessions!
·         65% client-side attendance!

TMRE is the premier event for Market Research and Consumer Insights thought leaders - an unparalleled opportunity to jump-start your career, build an all-star network and invigorate your brand.

Use exclusive blog discount code TMRE17BL for $100 off the current rate: 

The TMRE Team


Thursday, April 20, 2017

4 Best Practices for Optimizing Packaging for E-Commerce

This post was originally published on PRS IN VIVO’s blog.

How a new design system is introduced in market can significantly influence sales.  Here are four “best practices for minimizing risk:

1. Foster Brand Recognition (via Visual Continuity)

First and foremost, shoppers are looking for reassurance that they are buying the same product (online) that they know/trust from the “brick-and-mortar” store.  So while pack images may be simplified for Web “thumbnails,” it is important that they retain the brand’s core visual equities and appearance.

2. Ensure High-Quality & Informative Visuals

Simply put, some packages – particularly white packs and/or those that rely on foil, holograms and other tactile elements – do not always translate well to e-commerce environments and need refinements.  In addition, a range of images (primary vs. secondary packaging, etc.) may be necessary to illustrate the functionality and benefits of new packaging formats.

3. Clearly Convey/Reassure on Quantity

In the digital context, size impressions can be very misleading.  Therefore, it is very important to provide clear reassurance on pack sizing and quantity, particularly to highlight larger sizes.

4. Leverage Digital Capabilities to Illustrate/Inform 

Perhaps most importantly, the e-commerce context provides opportunities to inform/educate shoppers that are typically unavailable in physical environments.  For example, one click can provide a clear explanation of a full product line, helping shoppers find the right product for their needs – or link to a video illustrate use of a new product.

For more information about adopting packaging for e-commerce, please read this article here.  Or contact PRS IN VIVO to learn more about our research on the intersection of digital and physical shopping.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Insights Interview: Thomas Kralik, VP of Campaign ROI, Revolt TV

In our recent insights interview, we sat down with Thomas Kralik, VP of Campaign ROI, Revolt  to discuss how to reach the new age media consumer.

Here’s what Kralik had to say:

What is the state of the media research industry in 2017?

Kralik: The research industry is an exciting place to be in 2017. It is a place where a researcher must be fluent, not only in measurement, but understanding the consumers media habits and lifestyles.

What have been the biggest changes in the industry since you started your career? 

Kralik: It used to be that a media company could put a program on the air, promote it to a demographic, and get viewers to watch. Today, the media industry is being led by the consumer based on their habits and lifestyles. This provides opportunities to a media company because it can engage consumers via social, digital, linear, throughout the entire day These tools need to be used to establish an emotional connection with the consumer.

Have the influx of social media and mobile made your job easier or harder?

Kralik: It’s neither harder nor easier, but different. Social, linear and digital work in tandem, so research has to be involved throughout the process from conception to execution.

How has the media consumer changed in the past few years?

Consumers are in charge. New technologies have given them opportunities to access content anytime, anywhere. Consumers can now design their “packages” based on their habits and needs.

How can media companies do a better job reaching the new age consumer?

Media companies need to be completely abreast of new technologies and how and why they are used. They need to be very deliberate in how they combine and execute content.

What is the biggest challenge in the media industry today?

Coming up with an agreed upon methodology for measurement that is accepted by the industry.

Where do you see media research moving in 5 years?

Technology and consumers must determine that, but I could see viewership and measurement moving closer to a digital measurement than linear.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Introducing the TMRE On Demand Webinar Series!

Introducing the TMRE On Demand Webinar Series!

As insights leaders, we are constantly tasked with evolving our skill sets and staying on top of the latest MR trends.

The producers of TMRE: The Market Research event are excited to announce that we’ll be delivering the cutting-edge content and speakers to keep you informed year-round. The TMRE webinar series takes you beyond the in-person event, and is designed for executives with a relentless focus on securing the future of insights as a powerful force for business success. Each quarter, the TMRE Webinar series delivers a 3-part webinar experience designed to empower insights executives with the latest information around hot topics to ensure insights drives bottom line impact.

Schedule of WEBINARS:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – 2:00 – 3:30 PM EST
Driving the value of insights forward requires much more than just unearthing great data. You need to use that data to tell a story and command influence across the broader organization. Because storytelling may not be an inherent skill, this 3-part webinar focuses on how to use data to create an engaging, informative, compelling story. 
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 2:00 - 3:30 PM EST
There is a constant tug of war within insights and research departments. Your internal end-users want things done quickly and cheaply. While career market researches want to ensure they are using the savviest tools and techniques, and not just will get the job done first. This 3-part webinar focuses on how to balance speed and quality.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 – 2:00 – 3:30 PM EST
Millennials are currently the largest purchasing base, but remain one of the biggest mysteries for companies looking to understand the “why” behind their actions and anticipate future needs. This 3-part webinar focuses on MR in the on-demand mindset and generate impactful insights that create brands/products around a purpose that speaks to millennials.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Insights Interview: James Petretti, SVP, Research & Analytics, Sony Pictures TV

In our recent insights interview, we sat down with James Petretti, Senior Vice President, U.S. Research and Analytics to discuss how to reach the new age media consumer.

Here’s what Petretti had to say:

What is the state of the media research industry in 2017?

Petretti: Media Research is more complicated than ever before – more platforms, more channels, more kinds of content and more measures than ever before – the different types of data sets, and sheer amount of it that  we are required to work with today means we need to bring in new skill sets and core competencies – so it’s a constant learning process on top of trying to stay on top of an ever-increasing amount of information… it’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.

What have been the biggest changes in the industry since you started your career?

Petretti: We’ve moved from an analog to digital world – that’s changed everything.

Have the influx of social media and mobile made your job easier or harder?

Petretti: Both – there’s more data to have to consider – but it’s often a rich data set that allows us to have immediate feedback

How has the media consumer changed in the past few years?

Petretti: The Consumer is King today… they’re in control

How can media companies do a better job reaching the new age consumer?

Petretti: We need to make sure we respect the consumer today – when Media was a one to many medium, media companies were driving the relationship – but that’s changed and we must respond in kind – we can’t just look at consumers as “audience targets” – we must understand them as individuals and consider how we can help satisfy their needs and expectations.

What is the biggest challenge in the media industry today?

Petretti: The Business Model has not yet evolved to meet today’s realities – the ad supported television model is based on a captive audience trapped in linear time – but today viewers are liberated with extraordinary options that empower individual control and increasingly asynchronous viewing.

Where do you see media research moving in 5 years?

Petretti: Analytics, Data Science and Data Visualization continue to become increasingly important disciplines for media researchers – we need to incorporate core competencies from each to meet the demands of the new media world today and beyond.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Meet the Powerful Women Driving the Future of Customer Insights

TMRE: The Market Research Event and OmniShopper have some exciting news to share…

Not only is TMRE partnering with WiRE (Women in Research) for the first annual TMRE/WiRE Women in Research Award to celebrate some true rock-star researchers, but we're happy to share a preliminary list of powerful women in insights confirmed to take the stage at both the TMRE and OmniShopper 2017 events.

Check out the inspiring women speaking at TMRE 2017:

·         Dawn Cunningham, Chief Insights Officer, 3M
·         Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist, Author, Calm Technology
·         Cole Nussbaum Knaffic, Founder, Storytelling with Data
·         Kristin Luck, Founder, WiRE: Women in Research
·         Marina Kosten, VP Research - International Theatrical, 20th Century Fox
·         Elizabeth Merrick May, Head of Customer Insights, Nest
·         Christina Jenkins, Director, Global Business Marketing, North America, Twitter
·         Anna Fieler, Chief Marketing Officer, Popsugar
·         Lisa Courtade, Head of Market Research, Merck
·         Judy Melanson, SVP, Travel & Entertainment, Chadwick Martin Bailey
·         Amanda Hill, Chief Marketing Officer, A+E Networks
·         Margo Arton, Director of Ad Effectiveness Research, Buzzfeed
·         Lauren Zweifler, Senior Vice President ,Strategic Insights & Research, NBCUniversal
·         Terrae Schroeder, Senior Director, Wholesome & Shopper Insights, NA Snacks, Kellogg
·         Theresa Pepe, VP of Research, Viacom
·         Sarita Bhagwat, Vice President, Market Intelligence, Fidelity Investments
·         Julie Brown, President, The Center for Strategy Research
·         Lori Tarabeck, Global Market Insights, Abbott Diabetes Care
·         Renata Polcicio, Vice President, Fan and Media Intelligence, International, Global Markets, ESPN
·         Jennifer Avery, Director, Consumer Insights, Universal Orlando Resort
·         Sara Fahim, Senior Research & Innovation Consultant, Seek Company
·         Tiffany Sanders, Business Intelligence & Research, CBS
·         Emily Akinson, Insights & Planning, Consumer & Market Insights, Kellogg
·         Mary Beth Jowers, Consumer Insights Lead for North, Central and Eastern Europe, Gruppo Campari
·         Stephanie Cunningham, Senior Manager, Customer Insights & Analytics, eBay
·         Lina Roncancio, Insights & Innovation Director, Discovery Communications Latin America
·         Michelle Gansle, Director, Consumer & Market Insights, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
·         Karin Kricorian, Director, Management Science and Integration, Disney
·         Sarah Beachler, Director, Market Research & Client Insights, Sephora
·         Beth Coleman, SVP Marketing and Partner Insights, Viacom
·         Samantha Dawkins, Vice President, Client Strategy & Advocacy, ADP
·         Gabriela McCoy, Director of Global Consumer Insights, Bacardi
·         Kassie Deng, Director, Marketing & Partner Insights, Viacom
·         Lyndsey Albertson, Director of Sales Research, ABC
·         Maria Cristina Antonio, Director, Metabolic Insights & Analytics, Novo Nordisk
·         Julia Oswald, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Insights, Domino's Pizza
·         Carley Metsker, Vice President, Client Service, Directions Research
·         Monika Mandrakas, Market Researcher & Customer Advocate, Mutual of Omaha

View the TMRE brochure for a full list of speakers: https://goo.gl/1Ricj2

Check out the inspiring women speaking at OmniShopper 2017:

·         Shopper Marketing Activations: Marketing & Merchandising: J Lynn Martinez, Vice President & Team Lead Kroger, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
·         Customer Experience Design: How Research & Design Collaborate to Build New and Differentiated Experiences: Kate Kompelien, Customer Experience - Center for Excellence for Research & Strategy, Best Buy
·         Omnichannel Customer Analysis: Lakshmi Venkataramari, Senior Director, Customer Insights & Analytics, Walmart eCommerce
·         Winning in Her Purse: Kelley Styring, Principal, InsightFarm
·         Knowledge is Power, If You Can Find It: Ashley Starke & Diana Powell, Manager, Shopper Insights, ConAgra Foods
·         Team Structure Doesn't Matter: Sue Butler, Director of Omnichannel Insights, Walmart
·         Going Beyond Behavior to Drive Category Growth: Monica Melichar, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights, Beam Suntory & Erin Barber, Senior Vice President, C+R Research
·         Longitudinal Data & the Low Purchase Frequency Category: Stacy Carty, Shopper Insights, Samsung
·         Driving Change While Driving the Business: Improving Tools & Automation: Theresa Hendrickson, Director, eCommerce Engineering - Business Tools & Processes, Best Buy

View the OmniShopper Brochure for a full list of speakers: https://goo.gl/Qw8Juo

Use exclusive LinkedIn discount code TMRE17LI for $100 off the current rate. Buy tickets to TMRE now: https://goo.gl/1Ricj2

Use exclusive LinkedIn discount code OMNI17LI for $100 off the current rate. Buy tickets to OmniShopper now: https://goo.gl/Qw8Juo

Also, don’t miss our upcoming free webinar “Storytelling with Data” http://bit.ly/2o0bpAS featuring speakers Kelsy Saulsbury, Manager, Consumer Insight & Analytics, Schwan's Shared Services, LLC and Bill Greenwald, Founder and Chief Neuroleaderologist, Windsor Leadership Group, LLC. 

Driving the value of insights forward requires much more than just unearthing great data. You need to use that data to tell a story and command influence across the broader organization. Because storytelling may not be an inherent skill, this webinar focuses on how to use data to create an engaging, informative, compelling story.  Register for the webinar here: http://bit.ly/2o0bpAS

The TMRE & OmniShopper Teams

Friday, April 7, 2017

Why Social Influence is Important in Business: Q&A with Jonah Berger

We were lucky enough to recently catch up with one of our favorite conference speakers Jonah Berger, who is well-known as a Wharton Professor and Bestselling Author of Invisible Influence and Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Berger shared some key insights about why social influence is key to business from his new book Invisible Influence.

Here’s what Jonah had to say:

What is “social influence”?

Berger: Social influence is the impact people have on others around them. We vote if our spouse is voting, run faster if someone else is watching us, or switch our entrée if someone at the table orders the same thing.  In each instance, others’ behavior influences or affects our own. Those others can be spouses and friends, but also people we never even talk to, like the stranger sitting next to us on the plane.  Social influence effects small things, like the food we eat, but also big things like the career we choose or whether we save money for retirement. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of all decisions are shaped by others. It’s hard to find a decision or behavior that isn’t affected by other people.

Why is social influence important in business?

Berger: If we understand how influence works, we can harness its power. We can convince a client, change the boss’ mind, and motivate employees to take action.  One section of the book, for example, talks about how being a chameleon can make you more successful. Researchers looked at what makes someone a good negotiator. 

What makes them more likely to reach a deal when all looks lost. And they found that one simple trick led negotiators to be 5x as successful. That trick?  Imitating or mimicking the language, behavior, or facial expressions of their negotiating partner. If their partner crossed their legs, they did the same.  And if their partner leaned back in the chair, they did so as well. Not obviously, but subtly mirroring their partner.  Turns out the same trick works in a range of contexts. Waiters or waitresses that mimic their patrons’ orders get 70% higher tips.  Mimicry increases liking, trust, and affiliation.  It deepens social bond and makes people feel a kinship that turns strangers into friends and acquaintances into allies.

Why is social influence key to reaching the right customers?

Berger: Word of mouth is 10x as effective as traditional advertising. People trust it more and its more targeted.  So, to reach the right customers, we have to turn our existing customers into advocates. Use social influence to get them to talk about and share our message and bring new converts in along the way.   

How can individuals harness the power of social influence to make better decisions in their personal lives?  

Berger: If we understand how influence works, we can take advantage of its benefits and avoid its downsides. Following others can provide a useful shortcut that saves time and effort. If lots of people chose or did something, it’s probably pretty good. So, others can be a valuable source of information, a heuristic that simplifies decision making. Other times, however, following others can lead us astray.  So, simple tricks like considering whether others have the same preferences as we do can help us avoid going the wrong way.

Have you ever been personally affected by the power of social influence? What is an example?
Certainly. I was telling lawyer friend of mine from DC about the book and he was lamenting the effect of social influence on his colleagues. He said the first thing new lawyers in DC do when they make partner is go out and buy a BMW.  I said that was interesting, but then pointed out that he himself was a DC lawyer and drove a BMW. He said yes, but they all drive grey BMWs. I bought a blue one.

What I love about this story is that it perfectly encapsulates the tension inherent in social influence.  People often think being influenced means doing the same thing as others, but it’s more complex than that.  There’s more than one flavor of influence. Sure, sometimes we imitate those around us, but we also care about standing out and being unique.  So, when do we do the same thing as others and when do we do something different. 

In your book, you share an experiment about cockroaches and how their behavior changed when they had an audience.  What insights can you share about how we behave when our actions are observed?

Berger: It makes sense that people and animals might work harder when there is a competition.  If two pigeons are racing to get the last piece of bread, or two people are competing to win a golf tournament, the desire to achieve the reward or win the competition might lead people and animals to work harder. Even the mere presence of others though, can have similar effects. 

Cockroaches, for example, ran faster through a maze when other cockroaches were watching them, even though those others weren’t directly competing.  People behave similarly.  The mere fact that someone is watching us can increase motivation and performance.  But for new or difficult tasks, others can sometimes have the opposite effect.  Having someone else in the car when we’re trying to parallel park, for example, makes it harder for most of us to fit in the spot.  So, whether others presence helps or hurts depends on the nature of the task.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Q&A with Nielsen’s Chief Research Officer Mainak Mazumbar

In our Insights Interview series, we sit down with insights executives to discuss the state of insights and where it’s going in the future. We were fortunate to catch up with Nielsen’s Chief Research Officer Mainak Mazumbar recently.

Here’s what he had to say:

What is the state of the media research industry in 2017?

Mazumbar: Acceleration of fragmentation and digitization of media will continue to create unique opportunities for the media research industry. 2017 is the year when media research will deliver massive measurement innovation by incorporating various data (e.g. mobile devices, set top boxes, over the top, location etc) into the current measurement methodologies in ways no one ever has before.

What have been the biggest changes in the industry since you started your career?​

Mazumbar: Decline in consumer participation in surveys and rapid adoption of mobile devices have posed methodological and measurement challenges. Researchers have much better insights into media behavior than before because of digital data. New open source tools and cloud now allows researcher to deliver measurement at speed and scale​. New data science talent who are versed both in statistics and computing.

Have the influx of social media and mobile made your job easier or harder?

Mazumbar: It’s definitely easier because social and mobile data now allow us deeper understanding of media consumption in almost real time. The challenge is how we, as researchers, develop methodologies addressing both scale and speed.

How has the media consumer changed in the past few years?

Mazumbar: While we see continued fragmentation, consumers are spending more time on media than ever before. I think mobile and new forms of video make a huge difference and have revolutionized how we consume and interact with media.

How can media companies do a better job reaching the new age consumer?

Mazumbar: Continue pushing forward new strategies for mobile and video.

What is the biggest challenge in the media industry today?

Mazumbar: Three challenges:
1) It's all about consumers' "attention" on various platforms and devices
2) Get ahead of fraud/ viewability issues and regain advertiser's and consumer trust
3) Data protection and privacy

Where do you see media research moving in 5 years?

Mazumbar: There is an increasing need for a third party and objective view of consumer behavior. This will require researchers to develop independent and high quality data sets that reflect the true behavior of real people -- to address biases, limitations and incompleteness of device level data. And the speed at which clients need to make business decisions is increasing. Therefore, we need to deliver research and insights with speed and scale.

Want more expert insights on the market research industry? Attend one of upcoming 2017 insights events:

Marketing Analytics & Data Science
April 3-5, 2017
San Francisco, CA
Use code MADS17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/YqXZdx

TMRE in Focus
May 1-3, 2017
Chicago, IL
Use code FOCUS17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/c2UdIv

June 20-22, 2017
Minneapolis, MN
Use code OMNI17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/oUB85g 

TMRE: The Market Research Event
October 22-25, 2017
Orlando, FL
Use code TMRE17LI for $100 off

Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/SKtcUv

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How the Internet of Things is changing the face of retail

By: Ali Newton

This article was originally published on SmallBusiness.co.uk

There hasn’t been an advancement in retail as drastic as the IoT revolution since the Industrial Revolution. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that everyday objects can be connected in the same way that computers are today. And, with consumer adoption of IoT devices on the rise, now is the perfect time for retailers to get informed and capitalize on the IoT.

Whether it is to improve their overall customer experience, or to create new revenue streams, the IoT truly is changing the face of retail. Here are three ways the IoT could be integrated into every aspect of retail — from store displays, to storage equipment, to the shop floor.

1. Smart shelves

Panasonic is currently developing a product called the Powershelf. These shelves have built-in sensor technology that keeps track of inventory in real-time, saving businesses thousands of pounds in paid hours that they could reinvest elsewhere.

However, Powershelves also have the potential to be extremely useful on shop floors, as they can collect data about shoppers based on the products that they have chosen. In addition, these shelves give customers real-time prices that are based on demand. The shelf labels are wireless and can update prices based on the quantities that are left. The shelves can also detect when the products are about to go out of date, and alter the price according to this information too.
Jobs like stock counting, market research and stock replenishment can take human workers hours. Alternatively, they could be automatically performed by Powershelves talking to each other via the IoT.

2. In-store beacon tech

In-store beacons were set to become very popular for a while, but they haven’t quite caught on as previously anticipated. Beacons rely on customers coming within proximity of a shop, at which point they can be sent a message or an email to encourage them to come into the store — provided that the shop already has their contact details.

Still, it’s a solid idea in principle. A ’10 per cent offer when you buy today’ push notification could be sent to the consumers’ mobiles as an incentive to lure them into a shop if they’re nearby.
The issue with beacon technology is that it relies on Bluetooth, which many consumers don’t have switched on as it is known to drain battery power. In addition, customers usually need to have the brand’s app downloaded too. This places several obstacles in the way of the retailer before it can contact the customer directly.

Despite these obstacles, many brands are using proximity marketing to help drive their retail sales.

3. Smart shopping carts and cashless stores

IoT is a powerful tool for brick and mortar shops to compete with eCommerce stores that are taking over the retail world. Walmart recently began to develop shopping carts that can drive themselves to help customers find their way around its shops. It is also working on a technology that allows customers to order online and get their shopping delivered by a driverless cart directly to their car, or Uber, in the car park.

Similarly, Amazon’s Seattle shop has no checkouts. Customers simply enter the shop, pick up the items they need off the store display, and leave. Sensors around the shop record the items that customers pick up, removing the need for them to check out.

Whether or not any of these ideas will become an integral part of retail’s future remains to be seen. Predicting the future is always difficult and businesses and individuals are right to be skeptical of anyone telling them that the future is going to be radically different because of the IoT.

However, just because people should be skeptical about the idea that the IoT may change retail entirely, it doesn’t mean that they should write the idea off altogether. One IoT development is unlikely to change retail on its own, but as more of these technologies enter the market and they become more affordable, a greater impact will begin to be seen throughout retail.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Is Amazon in the Room?

By: Laura Sigman

This post was originally published on the LightSpeed Research blog.

On a recent earnings call, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of Lightspeed’s parent company WPP, talked about what keeps him up at night. And no; it’s not (necessarily) his infant daughter – it’s Amazon.

“And I would just mention the rise of Amazon, because in answer to the question, my favorite question is what worries you when you go to bed at night and when you wake up in the morning. It's not a three-month-old child (laughter), it's Amazon, which is a child still, but not three months. And Amazon's penetration of most areas is frightening, if not terrifying to some, and I think there is a battle brewing between Google and Amazon.”

The fear mostly seems to be of the unknown, as Amazon is thought to be quietly pursuing an advertising strategy carefully away from the watchful eyes of Wall Street.

Is Amazon really committed? They are by pure virtue of their strategically evolving business model. By being among the first big players on the e-commerce scene, they cemented their early adapter consumers to them. They’ve grown a multimedia offer around their core competency, and now Amazon knows not only what we read, but what we search for, what we buy, what we watch, what we listen to. I’m an Amazon Prime customer, and I take advantage of all of the bells and whistles that come along with it. So they know what content I’m engaging with, and whether I’m connecting to the content from my PC, smartphone, tablet or Alexa. And they can leverage this vast supply of shopper and behavioral data to sell hyper-targeted advertising to brands who can then speak directly to me.

When you look at it like that, it’s really not much different than how we’ve worked in the panel world. Historically, we have facilitated the conversations brands have with consumers, and have evolved by taking advantage of emerging technologies to help amplify those conversations. And, like Amazon, we grew our business by embracing early on that panelists (consumers) are people, too. 

(Believe it or not, it’s not as obvious to everyone as that sounds!) Today’s consumers want to have meaningful interactions, but they also want to have them when and where is convenient to them. So we meet them on their devices of choice; we always design surveys mobile-first (in fact, Lightspeed has an entire team dedicated to this) and we use data appends to reach the right consumer with the right questions. We invite survey respondents to answer open-ends with video responses – an engaging experience for them resulting in more meaningful data for brands to act on. We’re able to blur the line between quant and qual, intercepting surveys with invites to participate in deeper, on-point conversations. And brands can leverage all of this to create hyper-targeted advertising that speaks directly to their consumers. Which ties back to that Amazon example I shared above.

As Kantar pointed out at their FragmentNation event, the marketplace is splintering -- not with a whimper but with a bang. So while the ad world should fear the Amazon in the room, it should also embrace it. It’s an eye-opening reminder that consumers are advertising’s most valuable assets in a marketplace that is more diverse and fragmented than ever.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Here Comes Gen Z: 10 Keys to Understanding Them

According to Open Mind Strategy research, these are the top things to know about the new kids on the block Gen Z:

1. Huge
Gen Zs make up more than a third of the world’s population and comprise nearly a quarter of the US population – bigger than both Millennials and Baby Boomers – and still being born.

2. The most diverse generation ever
Gen Z will be the last majority-White generation born in the United States. Already the white majority is holding on by a thread, only 51% of Gen Z born into non-Hispanic White families.
This generation’s diversity also extends to their sexuality and gender identity. More than one-third of Gen Zs self-identify as bisexual to some degree; more than half know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns.

3. They idolize Influencers, not Celebrities
Most dedicate more time to YouTube than any other social site and their view of celebrities isn’t limited to movie stars and musicians, note the billions of views racked up by YouTube stars RayWilliamJohnson and PewDiePie. They want to emulate self-made Influencers who are just like them.

4. A plan to get paid
While Gen Zs are certainly passion-driven, if they know their passions won’t lead to financial stability, they have a plan for something that will. In everything from entrepreneurship to sports, kids and teens are finding places to excel early and focus their efforts in hopes of a payoff.

5. Having safe fun
Gen Zs are still teenagers! They want to have a good time, but they don’t want to negatively impact the successful future they are working to build. The teen pregnancy and birth rate are at historic lows, as is the usage of cigarettes and heroin among high-schoolers.

6. Caring about “cool”
Gen Z is snarky and very image aware. With the ever-growing influence of social media, there is a palpable return of “cool kids” and “losers” among Gen Z. They will quickly take down a post that doesn’t receive enough likes for fear of someone seeing its lack of attention.

7. Don’t share everything online
Gen Z takes a crafted and curated approach to posts. They are more aware of who they are sharing their lives with and how it affects their identity, which is why platforms like Snapchat are so appealing. They saw the devastating effects party pics had on their sibling’s scholarship or job offer.

8. No Mo “Beta Boys”
Gen Z boys want to be taken more seriously. To them, girls are certainly equal, but not better. Gen Z boys want in on the partnership by taking themselves a bit more seriously in school, work and relationships, but also embracing their sensitive side.

9. Mostly cynical
Gen Zs have realistic expectations and are skeptical that the world will work in their favor. More than eight in 10 Gen Zs were born after September 11. Growing up, conflicts over issues like the economy, gun violence and climate change, have been common. As a result, these teens have developed a valid claim to cynicism.

10. Still KIDS!
This generation is just beginning to come of age, and as uptight as they may seem, they’re still kids who haven’t quite figured it all out yet. They’re working hard and taking themselves seriously, but they are still silly, young, fun and undeclared.

Open Mind Strategy, LLC, is a research and brand strategy firm founded by Robin Hafitz, in 2010, with the mission of providing “more human intelligence.” OMS (http://www.openmindstrategy.com/) provides insight services, including qualitative and quantitative research, brand studies, show and message testing, segmentation, and customized inquiries, as well as strategic brand consulting and educational workshops. The OMS team is proud to have worked with leading clients, such as A&E Networks, AMC, Amazon, Clear Channel, Condé Nast, Gannett, Kao Brands, MTV, NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks, Unilever, USA Today, Yahoo!, and many more.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Online Ad Effectiveness Research Grows Up

 This article is brought to you by Survata.

The days of giving digital a pass are over. It’s time to grow up.”- Marc Pritchard, Chief Branding Officer, Procter & Gamble, January 2017

When the CBO of P&G tells us to grow up, we listen. And after speaking with clients at last month’s Media Insights Conference, it’s clear that there’s consensus: online advertising research needs to get more sophisticated.

We’re here to help. IAB breaks research down into phases: design, recruitment & deployment, and optimization. We’ll walk through each phase and determine what’s most in need of “growing up.” We’ll also include questions to ask your research partner to help increase the sophistication of your ad effectiveness research.


Let’s start by acknowledging that statistically sound online ad effectiveness research has not been easy to implement at reasonable cost until recently. As IAB notes, “Questions around recruitment, sample bias and deployment are hampering the validity of this research and undermining the industry as a whole.”

Just because perfect research design is challenging to achieve doesn’t mean that advertisers should settle for studies with debilitating flaws, leading to biased, unreliable results. In addition to challenges inherent to good research design, most ad effectiveness research partners have systematic biases due to the way they find respondents, which must be accounted for in the design phase. There has been innovation in this space within the past year using technology to reduce or eliminate systematic bias in respondent recruitment. 

Assuming you’re able to address the systematic bias of your research partner’s sampling, the major remaining challenge is how you approach the control group. At Survata, we think about this as a hierarchy: 
Using a holdout group is best practice, but implementing it requires spending some portion of your ad budget strictly on the control group. In other words, some of your ad budget will be spent on intentionally NOT showing people an ad. A small portion of people in the ad buy will instead be shown public service announcements to establish the control group. We love the purity of this approach, but we also understand the reality of advertising budgets. We don’t view holdout as a requirement for sound online ad effectiveness research. Smart design combined with technology can achieve methodologically sound control groups without “wasting” ad budget.

Along those lines, the Audience Segment approach has become de facto best practice for many of our clients. Basically, you create your control group from the same audience segment that you’re targeting in the ad buy. This isn’t perfect, as there could be an underlying reason that some people in the segment saw the ad but others didn’t (e.g., some people very rarely go online, or to very few websites), but it’s still an excellent approach. It’s the grown-up version of Demographic Matching.

Demographic Matching, in which the control group is created by matching as many demographic variables as possible with the exposed group (e.g., gender, age, income), is still a very common strategy. It’s straightforward to accomplish even using old online research methodologies. As online data has allowed us to learn far more useful information about consumers than demographic traits, this approach is dated.

Simply sampling GenPop as a control is undesirable. The results are much more likely to reveal the differences between the exposed and control groups than the effectiveness of the advertising.

Questions for your research partner:
  • What are known biases among respondents due to recruitment strategy?
  • What is your total reach? What percentage of the target group is within your reach? Is it necessary to weight low-IR population respondents due to lack of scale?
  • What’s your approach to creating control groups for online ad effectiveness research?
  • For Demographic Matching, how do you determine which demographic characteristics are most important to match?
  • How do you accomplish Audience Segment matching?
Recruitment/ Deployment

Historically, there were four methods to recruit respondents / deploy the survey: panels, intercepts, in-banner, or email list. To stomach these methodologies, researchers had to ignore one of the following flaws: non-response bias, misrepresentation, interruption of the customer experience or email list atrophy. In our view, these methodologies are now dated since the advent of the publisher network methodology.

The publisher network works by offering consumers content, ad-free browsing, or other benefits (e.g. free Wi-Fi) in exchange for taking a survey. The survey is completed as an alternative to paying for the content or service after the consumer organically visits the publisher. In addition to avoiding the flaws of the old methodologies, the publisher network model provides dramatically increased accuracy, scale, and speed.

Questions for your research partner:
  • What incentives are offered in exchange for respondent participation?
  • What are the attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic differences between someone willing to be in a panel versus someone not interested in being in a panel?
  • What are the attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic differences between someone willing to take a site intercept survey versus someone not interested in taking a site intercept survey?
  • How much does non-response bias affect the data?
  • Are you integrated with the client’s DMP?
  • How long to get the survey into the field, and how long until completed?
  • How does the vendor ensure that exposure bias doesn’t occur?
  • How does the vendor account for straight-liners, speeders, and other typical data quality issues?

An optimal ad effectiveness campaign returns results quickly, so that immediate and continuous adjustments can be made to replace poorly performing creative, targeting, and placements with higher performing ones. We call this real-time spend allocation. It’s analogous to real-time click-through rate optimization, as it relies on solutions to the same math problem (known as 
the multi-armed bandit).

By integrating with DMPs, ad effectiveness research can be cross-tabbed against even more datasets. The results will yield additional insights about a company’s existing customers.

Questions for your research partner:
  • Are results reported real-time?
  • How much advertising budget is wasted due to non-optimization?
  • How can DMP data be incorporated to improve ad research?

Flawed research methodologies can’t grow up, they can only continue to lower prices for increasingly suspect data. For online ad effectiveness research to grow up, new methodologies must be adopted.

To learn more about conducting your own ad effectiveness study, visit Survata